Blue-Green Infrastructure: Urbanization is closely related to development and often acts as a major driver of economic growth. India is on the verge of transition from a rural to an urban society, so it is important that the economic and social infrastructure is in good shape.
Cities are like living beings. Our cities cover only 3% of the country’s land, but they contribute about 65% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Cities also play an important role in climate change. The inability to effectively plan, regulate and monitor urbanization processes is responsible for this enormous environmental damage.
Blue-green infrastructure refers to a network that provides the ‘ingredients’ to solve city and climate challenges through a combination of infrastructure, ecological restoration and urban design to connect people to nature. .
Neel indicates water bodies like rivers and ponds while Harit indicates trees, gardens and orchards.
Benefits of blue-green infrastructure
- Environmental benefits: The use of bio-green infrastructure in areas such as transportation, water and housing can improve the health of ecosystems and thus contribute to the improvement of human health and the environment.
Incorporating green infrastructure in the city will not only benefit humans but nature as well.
- Social benefits: The design and beauty of the landscape can contribute to the identity of a city’s character. Green roads and landscaping enhance aesthetic and ethical qualities
Blue-green infrastructure can provide shade/shelter in public spaces and reduce urban temperatures. It can increase outdoor activities which will encourage more social interactions.
- Economic Benefits: The implementation of blue-green projects in the city can also benefit the citizens economically. The lower temperature at the building surfaces will result in a reduction in cooling demand, resulting in reduced energy demand.
This will increase the life expectancy of buildings as the green infrastructure will protect it from high temperatures and help reduce maintenance costs.
also read post – 3D Cityplanner
Current Status of Blue-Green Projects Globally
- ‘Active, Beautiful, Clean Water Program’ – Singapore
- ‘Grey to Green Initiative’ – Portland, Oregon, United States
- ‘Rain City Strategy’ – Canada
- ‘Sponge City Program’ – China
Towards nature-based solutions: Infrastructure planning needs to be more sensitive to an ecological approach where nature-based solutions are developed and adopted to meet climate and sustainability goals. Blue-green infrastructure can prove helpful in this direction.
‘Smart Cities Mission’ and ‘Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation’ (AMRUT / AMRUT) are commendable steps taken in this direction.
- Institutionalizing blue-green urban infrastructure: A comprehensive framework should be established to define a national approach and set guiding principles for such projects.
For example, guidelines on how to deal with uncertainties in the design of new water systems can support rapid decision-making at the local level.
- Upward Approach: Many Indian cities issue annual environmental status reports with details of natural features and pollution indicators.
Such activities can be integrated with an annual ‘blue-green audit‘ for all cities and combined with demographic data to better understand social challenges and develop realistic policy solutions.
Delhi is one of the first cities in India to focus on blue-green infrastructure in its 2041 masterplan.
- Multi-Stakeholder – Multi-Level Participation: Encouraging active dialogue and community participation with government, planners, policy makers and other political representatives will enhance understanding of blue-green projects and engage citizens in planning, formulation, implementation and monitoring. Chances of happening will increase.
In India the initiatives in Bengaluru and Madurai also involve extensive citizen participation.
- Accelerated progress on Sustainable Development Goals: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted global and domestic funding capacity for projects related to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Blue-green infrastructure has the potential to meet many of the goals outlined in the SDGs, such as those related to water (SDG 6 and SDG 14), land (SDG 15) and climate change (SDG 13).
It can also accelerate progress on green employment prospects (SDG 1).
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